There are currently about 129,000 people affected by diabetes in western Sydney, or 15% of the population.
The Western Sydney Diabetes Alliance members met recently at The Novotel in Parramatta for a jam-packed session covering a range of updates and forward-planning for 2018, with the aim of tackling the growing epidemic in the region.
Alliance Director Professor Glen Maberly said the rate of diabetes is growing at 1% each year.
“This is a surprising statistic and a wake-up call for our team, as it shows that the problem of diabetes is even greater that we first anticipated,” Prof Maberly said.
“We are now having to roll up our sleeves up even higher to tackle this growing health challenge.”
In attendance at the meeting were Prof Glen Maberly, director of the WS Diabetes Alliance, the executive management team including representatives from WSLHD, PwC Australia, Diabetes NSW & ACT, Western Sydney Public Health Network and the many dedicated and passionate alliance members.
The Alliance Plan for 2018 was unveiled, with key focus areas outlined for the coming months.
Prof Maberly said mobilising the public will be a big focus for this year.
“There will be community engagement, media initiatives to raise awareness of diabetes, and driving prevention and improved health outcomes for the growing number of people with diabetes in our community,” Prof Maberly said.
“Our goal is to increase the proportion of a healthy population, slow the progression towards being at risk of diabetes and reduce the size of the risk population.”
WS Diabetes Alliance Prevention Manager, Janine Dawson, said she was blown away by the number of new members at the meeting.
“Our new members are from a diverse range of backgrounds including dental, pharmacy, hearing, dementia, education, urban planning and the environment,” Janine said.
“There is a strong link between diabetes and dementia, as well as diabetes and poor oral hygiene, so it is wonderful to have healthcare professionals from these important areas on the team.
“I am continually inspired by the interest and passion displayed by the many organisations in our community who want to join forces and help tackle diabetes together.”
A Diabetes Information Hub will now be established to enable members to share information, collaborate, and join together on individual projects they are working on.
The next WS Diabetes Alliance meeting will be held in October, so stay tuned for more updates.